Happy 150th Birthday, Schuetzen Park!

Schuetzen Park grounds and buildings, photographed by J.B. Hostetler, ca. 1915
Schuetzen Park grounds and buildings, photographed by J.B. Hostetler, ca. 1915

Today celebrates 150 years since the dedication and grand opening of Schuetzen Park, primarily used by Davenport Schützen Gesellschaft. On June 12, 1870, a public festival beginning with a parade at 9:00 a.m. from the old Turner Hall located at Third and Scott Streets with Major Gustave Schnitger as Marshall of the day. He had two aids to support his work, Fritz Quickenstedt and Louis Hanssen (Davenport Schuetzenpark Gilde, 2). The parade’s route found its way to the park whereupon its arrival salutes were fired from “an Army cannon procured from the Rock Island Arsenal by August F. Schmidt, an active member” ( (Davenport Schuetzenpark Gilde, 2).

To help celebrate this momentous anniversary, we would like to feature vignettes about a few of the first members of the Davenport Schützen Gesellschaft later the Schuetzen Verein.

Henry Berg

Heinrich Jacob Christian Berg was born on October 6, 1827, in Schleswig. As a young man, he was apprenticed to the royal gun-making trade at Schleswig. He was a veteran of the Schleswig-Holstein war of 1848. He came to American in 1850 and spent some time in New York, Chicago, and St. Louis, before settling in Davenport in 1852.

Henry married Louisa Maria Henrietta Rusch on November 13, 1854. The couple had 9 children: Julius, Emil, Adolph, Harry, Frank, Ed, Ella (Mrs. William) Sindt, Minnie (Mrs. Ernst) Wenzel, and Katherine (Mrs. Fred) Nabstedt.

Mr. Berg had a gunsmith business on the northeast corner of Third and Harrison. He was a member of German Pioneers, Kamopfgenossen Verein, and was president and shooting master of the Davenport Shooting Association.

Henry Berg died on October 20, 1906, and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

Louis Hanssen

Johann Nicolaus Ludwig Hanssen Sr. was born on January 27, 1821, in Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany to H.F. and Margaret (Strum) Hanssen. He apprenticed under his uncle at his art store in Kiel then worked at a wholesale glove and hosiery store in Hamburg. When war broke out in Schleswig-Holstein in 1848, he was named Secretary of the ordnance enlisting bureau at Rensburg.

Louis came to Davenport in 1849 to look after his sister. The steamer Helen Sloman was wrecked at sea and the passengers, including Hanssen, were picked up by the British sailing ship Devonshire, which landed in America on December 31, 1849.

Louis Hanssen married Marie Sophie Hanemann on April 15, 1854. The couple had 10 children: Wilhelmina (Mrs. Gustav) Schumacher, Emma (Mrs. J.H.) Hass, Clara (Mrs. John) Albus, Alma (Mrs. Emil) Palm, Helene, Dora, Louis Jr., Charles E., Gustav A., and Bernard C.

Hanssen was one of the organizers of the Davenport Turner Society and the Schuetzen Gesellschaft. He and Christian Mueller were members of the same Turning class in Kiel.

A few years after his arrival in Davenport, Hanssen founded a hardware store bearing his name. Hansson’s Son’s Store grew as a family business becoming “one of the largest hardware establishments in the entire west” (“3 Generations in Family Build Up Immense Business for Louis Hanssen’s Sons,” 52).

Louis Hanssen died on January 22, 1908, and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

Jens Lorenzen

Jens Lorenzen was born on April 6, 1833, in Leugumkloster, Schleswig, Germany. He settled in Davenport in 1856 and worked as a clerk in a store before starting the Jens Lorenzen Crockery Company.

Jens married Agnes Kaack on April 15, 1868. The couple had 9 children: Elise (Mrs. Ed) Berger, Martha Brandt, Elsie (Dr. F.H.) Dueser, Theodore, Marie, Laura, Herle, Hilda, and Paul. Their residence was 629 West Sixth Street.

He opened his first retail crockery store on September 1, 1857, on the east side of Harrison Street between Second and Third streets, built a new store in 1871 on Third Street between Main and Harrison streets and added the Lorenzen Block in 1890 on the southeast corner of Third and Harrison streets.

He was an organizer and board member of the German Saving Bank, Director of the Davenport Water Company, Founder and first President of the Mutual Insurance Company, and Treasurer of the School District.

Lorenzen purchased the land for Schuetzen Park, was a member of the German-American Pioneer Association, the Davenport Turngemeinde, and Davenport Shooting Association

Jens Lorenzen died on October 10, 1909, and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

Christian Mueller

Christian L.H. Mueller was born on March 1, 1823, in Heiligenhafen, Holstein, Germany. At the age of 16, he started a 5-year apprenticeship as a merchant. In 1844, he started his own business in Kiel.

In March 1848, he participated in an attack and capture of a fortified post at Rendsburg, Holstein. He was wounded in several battles during the rebellion and was taken prisoner in July 1840. He spent 9 months in a hospital in Denmark.

Mueller arrived in Davenport in July 1852. He first worked in a vinegar factory which was destroyed by fire in 1854 and lost everything. He worked in sawmills in Davenport and Lyons, Iowa, and became manager of the French & Davis sawmill and lumber business. In 1868, he purchased interests in Dessaint and Schricker and became sole owner in July 1883. He associated with his sons Frank, Edward, and William in January 1895.

He married Elfreda J. A. F. Claussen in July 14, 1854. The couple had 5 children: Hilda (Mrs. Henry) Matthey, Frank W., Edward C., William L., and Alfred C. The family residence was 530 Ripley Street.

He was an instructor in the Kiel Turner Society. He was a founder and the first president of Davenport Turngemeinde, and founding member of the Davenport Schuetzen Gesellschaft.

Christian Mueller died September 10, 1901, at his home and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

Composite photo of shooting club and bowling club members, ca. 1907
Composite of officers of the Schuetzen Gesellschaft, in honor of the opening of the music Pavillion at Schuetzen Park, June 9, 1895
Portraits of members of the Davenport Schuetzen Gesellschaft, organized December 16, 1868. They wore gray uniforms trimmed in green and green feather caps.

Schuetzen Park is planning a Sesquicentennial Celebration this autumn on September 26, 12 – 4 p.m. Visit the beautiful wooded park and pavilion to learn more about this historical landmark a part of Davenport’s history.

  • “Death closes a long career: Henry Berg, veteran gun dealer, called away Saturday.” Davenport Democrat and Leader. Sunday, October 21, 1906 : 12.
  • “Sudden death of Louis Hanssen, Sr.: ends a short illness, just before 87th birthday observance.” Davenport Democrat and Leader. Wednesday, January 22, 1908 : 9.
  • “Jens Lorenzen answers summons: death calls one of Davenport’s most beloved citizens.” The Daily Times. Monday, October 11, 1909 : 6.
  • “A noble life ended: sudden death last evening of Christian Mueller”. Davenport Daily Leader. September 11, 1901 : 6.
  • “3 Generations in Family Build Up Immense Business for Louis Hanssen’s Sons”. The Davenport Democrat and Leader. December 31, 1929 : 52.

(posted by Cristina and Kathryn)

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